Fight for the Future


Why President Obama deserves to lose the Senate today

Posted 17:34 EST on November 4, 2014

FFTF co-founder Holmes Wilson published this op-ed in The Hill today.

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/222721-why-obama-deserves-to-lose-the-senate-today

The Internet has been game-changing in nearly every important political moment. From the Arab Spring to Occupy, from Ferguson to feminism, groups facing oppression have a chance to control their own narrative, introducing topics too complex and provocative for traditional, top-down media. 

Today, how average people feel about an issue finally, actually matters. When something important happens, public discourse can be more than soundbites crammed down our throats by paid (read: corrupted) professionals. When Ferguson or Gamergate happens, we can actually learn from it. 

When activists make a video decrying street harassment, for example, the absurd response on cable news is just icing on the cake. The hundreds of millions of people who watched the video directly, on their own terms, have already gotten the point (that what women in American cities go through every day is just unacceptable). 

For those of us who came of age in America’s dark days of post-9/11 hysteria, George Bush, and cable news (not to mention a cleverly co-opted New York Times that sat on the news of warrantless wiretapping for a year and pumped up the WMD threat in Iraq) it’s impossible to overstate the difference. 

But America’s telecommunication and media giants are threatening to return us to that pre-Internet dark age. And Barack Obama–who more than any other American president has benefited from the open Internet and promised to protect it– is helping them do it. 

The issue is net neutrality, the ability for people to connect online without interference from cable companies. The cable industry wants power over what sites and services people use, to start applying the confusing pricing– the kind that lets them charge such ridiculous amounts for TV– to the Internet. 

If they win, your access to cable-sanctioned services will get fast and cheap, while access to millions of other voices on the Internet will get slow and expensive, perhaps impossible. 

Obama has spoken out for net neutrality dozens of times, from the campaign trail, to just weeks ago. And he’s saying the right things. 

But that’s where it ends. Obama’s pick to run the FCC–the agency with the power to enforce net neutrality– is a former lobbyist for both cable companies and telcos. 

Despite having hand picked the FCC’s leadership, the Obama administration is pretending to have no power over the FCC. This is not true. Obama has the power to remove Tom Wheeler from his position as FCC chair and replace him with one of the other commissioners. If that’s not power, what is? 

Then, last week, the FCC’s current plans leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Even though millions of Americans supported net neutrality, this proposal gave us the opposite: fastlanes for those who pay, and slowlanes for everyone else. 

At this point, we no longer feel like we’re speaking to an administration (and especially an FCC Chairman) that’s operating in good faith. Four million Americans and nearly the entire tech community speak out, and the FCC does the opposite. This looks like simple corruption and–given everything Obama has promised his voters, volunteers, and donors on net neutrality–hypocrisy.  

And more than anything else, we see this as a pattern. Whether it’s the financial crisis, health care, immigration reform, or climate change, the Obama administration always says the right things. But when it comes time to act, it caves to elite power, again and again. 

Obama’s candidacy promised an escape from the dark ages of Bush, cable news, and a war built on hysteria. Now, by breaking his promises on net neutrality, Obama’s legacy will be to actually return us to that dark age, where our entire Internet experience will have the thumbprints of  top-down big cable/media conglomerates all over it.

Today, America goes to the polls. Obama’s party is expected to suffer a series of defeats, and lose control of Congress. Is it any wonder? This was a turnout election, the people who care most about an open Internet are those without power, and Obama hasn’t fought for them. From where we sit, they deserve to lose.

Wilson is a co-founder of Fight for the Future, a nonpartisan organization that works to defend the open Internet.

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PRESS RELEASE: Fight for the Future delivers 75,000 signatures to President Obama demanding he support Title II net neutrality and replace failed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Posted 14:07 EDT on October 31, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 31st

Media Contact:
Tiffiniy Cheng, 413-367-6255
Email:
press@fightforthefuture.org

Fight for the Future delivers 75,000 signatures to President Obama demanding he support Title II net neutrality and replace failed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Internet activists are outraged by so-called “hybrid” proposal reported by Wall Street Journal that would allow for fast lanes and slow lanes.

WASHINGTON – Today, digital rights group Fight for the Future – best known for their pivotal role in major Internet protests like the SOPA Blackout and the Internet Slowdown – electronically delivered more than 75,000 signatures to President Barack Obama calling for the White House to publicly support full Title II reclassification and demote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler for failing to do his job protecting the public’s access to a free and open Internet.

The delivery came just hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Wheeler is close to finalizing a net neutrality proposal that would explicitly allow for Internet fast lanes and slow lanes, despite the fact that the FCC has received more than 3.7 million public comments opposing the fast lanes, overwhelmingly in support of banning so-called “paid prioritization” through the use of Title II reclassification.

“The Internet will never accept this sham proposal – it’s a middle finger to the American public and Internet users around the world,” said Holmes Wilson, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “Four million people came out opposing fast lanes, and then the FCC proposes fastlanes. It’s an outrage.”

“President Obama risks becoming the poster child for modern corruption. He appointed a former cable industry lobbyist to chair the FCC who has been doing the Cable industry’s bidding,” said FFTF’s other co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, “If the FCC goes with the proposal detailed in the Wall Street Journal and fails to protect the most basic principles of the open Internet, that failure rests with the Obama administration. ”

Following today’s petition delivery calling for Wheeler’s removal from the FCC Chairmanship, Fight for the Future announced plans for a series of escalating actions targeting both the White House and the FCC.

The group is currently running a campaign at CallTheFCC.com, which allows Internet users to enter their phone number and call a random top-level employee at the FCC. The page has already driven more than 10,000 phone calls to the FCC, and more than 700 committed activists have signed up to call the FCC every day from now until they announce their net neutrality decision.

Fight for the Future and other groups are also planning an Emergency Protest at the White House on Thursday, November 6th. Inspired by massive protests against a proposed Internet Tax in Hungary, the organizers are calling for participants to hold their phones aloft as a symbol of protest against the gutting of Internet freedom.

“We’re just getting started – the public is outraged and our actions will reflect that,” added Evan Greer, FFTF’s Campaign Director, “If President Obama and Tom Wheeler think they can fool the Internet public into accepting a fake proposal that destroys net neutrality, they are sorely mistaken, and with elections coming up, their party may pay the ultimate political price.”

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Google’s Silence

Posted 16:16 EDT on October 29, 2014

Dear Fight for the Future member,

There’s good news. We can win net neutrality for good, but to do that we need one of the biggest companies on the web to come out for it.  

Google likes to be known as a leader of open Internet principles, but their silence has been deadly in the fight for net neutrality. If they want to keep being leaders, they need to come out with strong support for real net neutrality and Title II.

Click here to tell Google they shouldn’t stay silent during the most important battle that the Internet has ever faced.

Love ‘em or hate 'em, the name Google is synonymous with power when it comes to tech policy in DC, and where they stand on net neutrality matters. It matters a lot. We’ve heard from lots of allies in Washington that one of the biggest forces working against the net neutrality movement – despite its overwhelming public support – is Google’s silence.

Don’t let Google stay silent about the open Internet. Sign the petition to Google execs now.

Google needs to hear that internet users– and their own employees– care about net neutrality and are watching to see which side Google is on. The looming threat to net neutrality brought on by the cable and telecom companies is the biggest threat the internet, and all the good it can bring to the world, has ever faced.

Everything you do for net neutrality will matter. One small click to get Google supportive of real net neutrality could mean a big win soon. We mean that.

Sign the petition to Google execs now.

Thank you for everything you’re doing!

Fight for the Future

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*Everyone* at the FCC

Posted 13:40 EDT on October 27, 2014

Hey,

image

Net Neutrality was just called “inevitable” by Communication Daily, the telecom industry trade press for cable insiders.

Click here to take action to demand that the FCC enforce net neutrality!

Less than a year ago, Title II net neutrality was thought to be impossible. But the tides have changed in Washington because of how hard we’ve fought for net neutrality. Now, it’s clear we need to make sure everyone at the FCC has a reason to stand up for the public interest and help save net neutrality for good.

That’s why we’re unveiling a new website that will allow you to call a randomly selected top official at the FCC to demand real Title II net neutrality every day until the they announce their decision.

Take action to demand that the FCC save the open Internet!

Big cable might have the money to send in their lobbyists to strike upon Washington - but we have the entire Internet. If enough dedicated Internet defenders can step up and call as much of the FCC from now until they make their decision, we can win this battle.

We took something that seemed impossible – getting net neutrality from the FCC – and made so much progress that Communication Daily is now calling it “inevitable.” We’ve accomplished the impossible together before – killing SOPA & derailing CISPA. The Internet can do incredible things if we band together and take smart, strategic actions to move the needle. Will you call the FCC with us?

“Yes, I’ll take action and demand that the FCC make real Title II net neutrality a reality.”

We’re so close to protecting the open Internet for generations to come, and it was only possible because of the amazing potential of the Internet as a medium for public action. The other side is spending millions to make sure they can control how the Internet works. To even the battlefield, we need to tell all of the FCC that they still have the chance to be a part of Team Internet and defend Title II net neutrality.

Click here to go use our new action tool to speak out for net neutrality and get more of the FCC on our side right now.

For the Internet,

Kevin and Tiffiniy

Fight for the Future

P.S. Creating organizing tools like these to contact the FCC uses up a lot of resources. Will you chip in $5 (or more!) today to make sure we can keep the pressure on while we have so much momentum?


P.P.S. Because of our work, the deadline for filing comments on Comcast merger has been delayed indefinitely. You can still send the FCC a note to show them that a Comcast takeover is a terrible thing for the Internet. Click here to send your comment to the FCC.

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